What is OTT? [All You Need To Know]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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The term OTT literally means over-the-top. It’s something you’ve likely stumbled upon when accessing video or audio content on the Internet. For clarity’s sake, let’s dig a bit deeper and further explore what OTT is, what is an OTT platform, as well as its pros and cons.  

What Is OTT?

Over-the-top is a media practice of streaming content to your customers via the internet. Any content provider that offers streaming services as a product is engaged in OTT. Simply put, it’s a contemporary direct media content delivery approach.

OTT services include video or audio streaming. There are also messaging applications and voice calling platforms considered as OTT. For the most part, anyone with an internet connection can consume content. While business models may vary,  the majority of OTT is built around content consumer subscriptions. Some platforms also generate revenue from ads or in-app sales.

How Does OTT Work?

Because OTT media is internet-based, consumers access material directly from a content provider’s platform. As such, the technology bypasses third-party networks that traditionally manage online content delivery. This enables anyone with internet connectivity to be a potential customer with direct access to desired content.

Most modern computers support OTT content consumption. With an updated web browser or a desktop app, you should be good to go. For mobile users, OTT apps must normally be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.

There are other delivery methods, including popular Smart TVs or periphery and gaming devices. As such, OTT as a form of media distribution has vast consumer reach and is increasingly popular

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several important benefits for an over-the-top media service. Let’s take a quick look at some of these.  

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Deliverable across many mediums
  • Based on current consumer trends
  • Original content delivery without third-party intermediaries
  • High-quality content delivery
  • Replayability

While at the same time, there are unique challenges worth considering.

Cons

  • Access limitations for those with hardware/internet constraints
  • The OTT landscape has security and privacy concerns that need resolution
  • Current lack of censorship to separate child-friendly content
  • Potentially high competition for users’ time 
  • Exceed key infrastructure capabilities resulting in diminished OTT network services 

Wrap Up

OTT platforms have an interesting and fruitful future ahead of them. Their popularity continues to follow consumer behavior trends, which aren’t set to disappear anytime soon. Additionally, tech developments like widespread 5G access can only bolster OTT platforms usage

So, what is OTT to you? Already content and communication driven, it’s only a matter of time for further impact. While, there are a few concerns that need addressing - the potential is already here. 

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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